IGP Orders Police Officers Not to Fire Bullets at Stone throwers

In response to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directive of last month, Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola, has issued 17 new operation procedures to all police commanders and their juniors.

In the new guidelines Daily Press has seen, Ochola has barred all policemen and women from firing bullets at people throwing stones at them including not that are using abusive and provocative language.

Ochola, in his guideline number five indicates that while using force in execution of their duties, police personnel shall ensure that the force used in proportionate and must be ready to be accountable for whatever transpires in the event of using force to respond to a situation.

“It must be proportional to the attacking force. For example, if stones, bottles are being thrown at the police or abusive and provocative language, such would not justify the use of fire arms. If force must be used, non –lethal weapons should be employed,” Ochola states in the new guidelines.

Museveni following the September 4 chaos in National Resistance Movement –NRM primaries directed the IGP to draft operational guidelines on gun usage by police officers including Local Defence Units –LDUs under the command of police.

The head of state based the directive on incidents in districts such as Katakwi and Bugiri where people had been shot by police yet some where fighting among themselves. People were also shot dead in Isingiro district.

“I am writing to direct you to stop the random shootings by the LDUs and police, all under the command of the police. There was shooting dead of one person in Katakwi, one person in Bugiri, two people in Isingiro etc. analysis of these shootings show that many, if not all, of the shootings were unnecessary,” Museveni said.

Ochola in the new guidelines on use of force says there must be issuance of a warning where possible and if circumstances permit the officer will identify self. The police officer will give a warning that if the offender does not peacefully surrender, force is going to be used.

Policemen and women have been ordered to always ensure the degree of the force employed will depend on the number of aggressors, nature and characteristic of the weapons used.

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